Day 2 Reflections
Posted on 07/16/2013 @ 10:00 PM
Although it's only been three days, it feels like I've known my new friends for forever. Through odd ice breakers and meaningful reflections, I can already see the wide variety of participants coming together to form an incredible, passionate community.
After an eye-opening day of community service and learning about homelessness, we had an evening program that incorporated the commemoration of Tisha B'av (day to remember the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem) with accounts of intolerance and discussions about contemporary prejudices in our world. Many participants have chosen to fast for Tisha B'av, a traditional practice to mourn the destruction of the second temple. Many of us, during nightly reflection time, seemed empowered to stand up against injustice.
We continued this day of observance this morning with an excursion to the Holocaust museum in DC. With four floors and seemingly endless information, it was a shocking yet astounding experience. The combination of personal stories, documents, videos, pictures, and objects from the actual concentration camps made the horrific tragedy slightly more tangible. We were given a booklet on a victim's life and followed the story around the museum to figure out if they survived. This made the information in the museum more personal. Upon leaving the main exhibit, I noticed a quote on the side wall by Elie Weisel that read: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." This quote really demonstrates a main ideal of this program: speaking out against injustice. Whether it be keeping the horrors of the Holocaust relevant to current times or standing up against intolerance and prejudice, we must bear witness. We are the voices of our generation; we have the power to remove the intolerance from our world.
When we returned from the museum, we had an interesting lesson on the American government and an introduction to lobbying. It's really exciting that we will actually be able to meet with our state representatives and discuss issues that we are passionate about.
As Tisha B'av comes to a close, we reflect on this sad day and acknowledge that the Jewish people survived many struggles throughout history, and now it is our job to speak out and never forget.
- Rachel Mitchell